Domestic, Not-for-Profit, Private education, Required, University & College - Written by on Friday, July 1, 2011 20:06 - 0 Comments

CMU provides remedial online math courses to liberal arts colleges

Math Class

The Chronicle of Higher Education published a piece June 29, 2011 about how Liberal Arts Colleges – like Bryn Mawr College, Wesleyan University and Colgate University – are expanding online classes.  The amusing part, however, is whether online classes can possibly beef up math and science training for liberal arts students, who might be known to underperform in those subjects in the past.
Josh Fischman writes:

“Bryn Mawr won a $250,000 grant from Next Generation Learning Challenges this spring to explore how online courseware could fit into the close-knit liberal-arts experience. The software, a sophisticated form of “computer tutor,” will be introduced into traditional math and science classes this fall to improve course-completion rates. Professors at even the most tony colleges say they are seeing completion—and math- and science-major retention—as more of a problem.”

…. The Open Learning Initiative at Carnegie Mellon University, which developed the software that Bryn Mawr and 35 other colleges will be using. The software gives individualized instruction in 12 subjects, using sophisticated tracking of skill development and offering instant feedback and help based on the student’s mastery of concepts. The idea is to use this to teach basic statistics, say, instead of using a professor’s lectures—and time—on the fundamentals.

Fischman reports that Carnegie Mellon says that a large public university that tested the modules found that 99 percent of students taking the program’s formal-logic course online completed it, compared with 41 percent of students in a traditional course. At Carnegie Mellon, students who took an accelerated-statistics course in hybrid form completed it in eight weeks, and learned as much material, and performed as well on tests, as did students taking a traditional 15-week course.


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